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Thread: ti hardtails

  1. #1
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    ti hardtails

    Who makes the nicest ti hardtails?
    I am considering a new ti hardtail and my important factors are:
    lightweight
    ability to do custom- custom geometry and tire clearance
    probably butted tubing
    ride quality
    Are people getting hardtails for 100mm forks these days?

  2. #2
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    I've always been partial to the guys-n-gals at Seven. I've got a few Seven Ti bikes (MTB, road, and cross) and recently had to sell my first (Seven Ti Sola) in order to offset the cost of my Ti Racer-X 100. Without a doubt, consider a custom Ti Sola...they are gorgeous! You name it, they'll make it.

    But, another Ti builder I've always loved is Moots. Those welds, the finish....droool!

    And, don't forget about Titus. They'll whip you up a nice, custom Ti FCR. In looking at my Ti RX-100, the quality is on par with Seven.





    You really can't go wrong with either of these guys.

    With regards to the travel you should design your frame around...you really need to evaluate the type of rider you are, the trails you ride on, etc. My '98 Seven Ti Sola was designed around a 63mm SID. My '00 Seven Ti Verve SS was designed around a slightly longer travel fork.

    If I was to buy another Ti HT, I would seriously consider a 100mm...I've been having a blast with my RX-100s F100X and, since my tastes are steering away from traditional XC races where fork travel is less than 80mm, that is, I'm doing my enduros, solo 24 hrs, etc., where a little more travel isn't a bad thing.
    Ride Hard,
    Mike B. (MCM# 7.77)
    http://www.one-speed.com

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    I really like my Independent Fabrications. My bike and and bunch of other examples can be seen here:

    http://www.ifrider.com/register/00192a.jpg

    Butted, custom, single speed, you name it. I really like the look of the shot peened finish IF uses, it's different. Depending on the light it can look really silver to almost white in sunlight and kinda industrial/matt in overcast. When it gets dusty, it's this cool gold color. Lot's of paint options too - check out Eric Roman's pink SS:

    http://www.ifrider.com/register/00091a.jpg

    I don't think you can go wrong with any of the great US Ti builders; IF, Seven, Moots, etc.

    If site at: www.ifbikes.com

    Eric.

  4. #4
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    also check out Jim Kish www.kishbike.com
    Kish has been in the bike frame industry since the early 90's and teaches Ti frame building classes at the United Bicycle Institute. Many that work in the bike frame industry have heard his name b/c he has taught them something, and he has been around for a pretty long time. He is often called to work with other bike companys to help troubleshoot problems/issues they are having to deal with. His custom frames cost less than a Moots, Seven and IF because he isn't as widely know as those big names I just mentioned.

  5. #5
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    Titanium or Bust !

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    Nicest Ti bike...

    The nicest titanium bikes (cost no option) are older Merlins (when the crew at Seven still worked there) and any Seven frame. Moots frames are real nice too, if I were to get a softie, I'd definitely get the YBB. The nice thing about titanium is that under most circumstances the frame will last a lifetime. You can usually get a frame or complete bike on e-bay for 1/2 to 1/4 the price of a new one. I've bought and sold 3 Merlins this way myself.

  7. #7
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    Moots or Seven

    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat
    Who makes the nicest ti hardtails?
    I am considering a new ti hardtail and my important factors are:
    lightweight
    ability to do custom- custom geometry and tire clearance
    probably butted tubing
    ride quality
    Are people getting hardtails for 100mm forks these days?
    i have 100mm on my steel hardtail, considering an AM1 13mm to 150mm

    Moots or Seven Cycles


    on a tight budget: Haberano

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    Try Strong Frames

    I've had a custom Ti frame from Carl Strong for almost a year now and its a fantastic ride. Carl is excellent to deal with and offers a full custom service. Have a look at his web site http://www.strongframes.com and check the design and fab section and take a tour of what goes into each of his frames.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eli-Ti
    The nicest titanium bikes (cost no option) are older Merlins (when the crew at Seven still worked there) and any Seven frame. Moots frames are real nice too, if I were to get a softie, I'd definitely get the YBB. The nice thing about titanium is that under most circumstances the frame will last a lifetime. You can usually get a frame or complete bike on e-bay for 1/2 to 1/4 the price of a new one. I've bought and sold 3 Merlins this way myself.
    In addition to my IF, I have a Merlin Ti Agilis (Ebay demo bike) and absolutely love that frame. If I ever need another road bike I'd go w/ Tom Kellog's custom shop, 'Spectrum' built by the guys at Merlin. The guys that started the Ti buisness at IF are former Merlin employees / welders as well...

  10. #10
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    ti frame

    I am pretty sure that I am going to get a Ti IF like you.
    Did you go for their yo eddy like geometry or specify your own?
    It seems like I would need a thomson no offset post and also make the top tube way longer for a 72 degree bike.
    I am also not sold on the 71.5 head angle. I had a Moots with a 71.4 head and it seemed pretty squirrly on a fast fire road.

    Quote Originally Posted by IFrider1
    In addition to my IF, I have a Merlin Ti Agilis (Ebay demo bike) and absolutely love that frame. If I ever need another road bike I'd go w/ Tom Kellog's custom shop, 'Spectrum' built by the guys at Merlin. The guys that started the Ti buisness at IF are former Merlin employees / welders as well...

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    I have a Norco Team Ti, which probably doesn't compare at all to the likes of Seven and so on. Here's a question for you other Ti riders out there - does your bike have a replaceable derailler hanger? I notice that Strong does, but mine doesn't.

    I had never bent my hanger until this year (after 3 years of racing on it) but I got a shop here to bend it back (although he was wary at first about the proper protocol with ti frames). What's the deal?

  12. #12
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    Replaceable derailleur hangers : Some do , some don't .. Since titanium is rather strong it won't bend as easily and when it does it can be bend back. So it really is not necessary to have one to save the frame.
    My Moots has one, my Litespeed and Hilset don't..
    Titanium or Bust !

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat
    I am pretty sure that I am going to get a Ti IF like you.
    Did you go for their yo eddy like geometry or specify your own?
    It seems like I would need a thomson no offset post and also make the top tube way longer for a 72 degree bike.
    I am also not sold on the 71.5 head angle. I had a Moots with a 71.4 head and it seemed pretty squirrly on a fast fire road.
    All of IF's bikes are custom. They don't do any 'off-the-peg' any more. I pretty much new what I wanted from my previous bikes. I designed (I have access to CAD) my IF to have roughly the same reach as my previous bike - I need a long TT. However, I shortened up the wheelbase (71.5 headtube) and tweaked the seatube angle to get it smack dab in the middle of my rails. Here in MI I wanted something that excelled in the tight-twisty stuff but, still let me stretch out and crank in rolling race courses. I went through the IF fit process to see what they'd come up with; fitting, interview (likes dislikes / riding style), etc. They came up with the exact same numbers so, I was pretty confident in them....

    IF will design the bike around your desired fork. Not just axle to crown but, taking into account sag. Depending on how your Moots was designed and for what fork / sag this could account for your prob with the handling. Get it measured up to determine what the true heatube angle is w/ sag.

    The guys at IF are great. Matt Bracken (former Merlin) will usually answer the phone and talk your ear off with any questions you have.

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    ti frames

    Thanks for the info, I am getting an IF for sure.
    I know that you went full custom, did you go with their Fat Chance style 72.0 degree seat tube or something steeper?
    I know my saddle setback and reach needs, but I am not sure if I want to do a 72.0 seat angle with a no setback thompson post or the usual 73.5 that my favorite and best fitting road bike has. If I do the 72.0 the top tube will need to be significantly longer to compensate.
    As far as head angle, I am comfortable with 71.0, but I would entertain the 71.5 if IF can convince me that the bike will not be twitchy on a fast fire road decent.
    THanks again for all the info.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat
    Thanks for the info, I am getting an IF for sure.
    I know that you went full custom, did you go with their Fat Chance style 72.0 degree seat tube or something steeper?
    I know my saddle setback and reach needs, but I am not sure if I want to do a 72.0 seat angle with a no setback thompson post or the usual 73.5 that my favorite and best fitting road bike has. If I do the 72.0 the top tube will need to be significantly longer to compensate.
    As far as head angle, I am comfortable with 71.0, but I would entertain the 71.5 if IF can convince me that the bike will not be twitchy on a fast fire road decent.
    THanks again for all the info.
    My seat tube angle works out to be 72.5 with a Easton carbon post - 1.5" setback. I've got long femur bones compared to leg length. I'd have your favorite seatpost picked to help figure the numbers out. I'd used Easton in the past and was comfortable with them. I find I run about 4mm further back than my perfect roadbike set-up. Best thing to do is find a qualified fitter you trust but, it's good to have your own experience of what you want.

    For your riding IF may think 71.0 head tube is better. Here in MI we don't usually have anything long enough to get over 28+mph regularily.

    Make sure you clearly indicate your priorities to them: weight - stiffness? I wanted my BB stiff for short steep climbs and the chainstay for the disc side is stiffer. I probably could have gotten the weight lower if I went a little softer. As pictured, it builds up a 20.7 lb disc hardtail for a bigger frame. Mine is 17.5 c-c seatube 23.6 t-t.

    Good luck.

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    IF Rider

    I saw your bike on the IF rider site. Very nice, nicely proportioned as well.
    What is you saddle height on that bike?
    Did you go with the stock 10.0cm head tube?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat
    I saw your bike on the IF rider site. Very nice, nicely proportioned as well.
    What is you saddle height on that bike?
    Did you go with the stock 10.0cm head tube?
    Thanks. My saddle height is 76.0 cm and head tube is 11.0 cm. That puts me about 4.5 - 5 cm of saddle to bar drop with a RaceFace low riser bar. A nice low TT and tight geometry - the bike rocks in tight stuff. Can't wait till spring again - it's 5 deg F here today.

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    Ti frames

    I took the plunge on an IF ti. Should be here in about 4-5 weeks.

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    Cool-blue Rhythm

    if i had a choice (not like I will be coming across this sort of ca$h anytime soon), I'd get a Jones.

    http://jonesbikes.com/buyajones/processall.asp


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    Jonesbikes

    Jeff Jones makes a nice bike. I also like that he rides them and experiments with design.
    (I have a set of his h-bars that I may use at some point in time.)
    However, I cannot wait 1 year for a frame- my attention span will not allow it.

  21. #21
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    best bike if you ask me http://www.snakebike.com/snake/blog/new.html
    so nice bikes, best weld i ever seen, and you can get it as you want. for example for Cannondale Fatty fork.

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    have to agree with you regarding the 1 year wait...the anticipation will probably kill me as well!

    have you checked out Habanero cycles?

    www.habcycles.com

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltazar
    best bike if you ask me http://www.snakebike.com/snake/blog/new.html
    so nice bikes, best weld i ever seen, and you can get it as you want. for example for Cannondale Fatty fork.
    Do you have a close up pic from those welds?
    From what I see on the site, it looks like their frames are made by Tilon.
    And those welds are far from IF , Kish or Moots quality. But I can only judge from the few lo-res pics on the site, so surprise me with hi-res stuff from SnakeBike frames.
    Titanium or Bust !

  24. #24
    Is my rear tire flat?
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    Well, you can spend a lot of money, or not so much money. I have owned a Litespeed and also now own an www.epicti.com hardtail. I love the Epic Synergy and they geometry they used to build it. It has a long top tube, short stays and awespme welds. This bike climbs better than any other bikes I have had and also descends well with the long sloping top tube. I paid $995.00, or you can also spend $2K to 5K for a frame too.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bootsie_cat
    I am also not sold on the 71.5 head angle. I had a Moots with a 71.4 head and it seemed pretty squirrly on a fast fire road.
    Those numbers mean nothing unless you know what length of a fork that frame was designed for. My 7 has a 72 degree head angle and the last word I'd use to describe the steering is "squirrly". And I ride almost nothing BUT fire roads. It's absolutely perfect.
    Mike T's home wheelbuilding site - dedicated to providing Newby wheelbuilders with information and motivation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bad Wolf
    Do you have a close up pic from those welds?
    From what I see on the site, it looks like their frames are made by Tilon.
    And those welds are far from IF , Kish or Moots quality. But I can only judge from the few lo-res pics on the site, so surprise me with hi-res stuff from SnakeBike frames.

    i can try to get closeup fictures on the welds tomorrow.

    Tilon, in what country are they made?

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    Titus all the way....

    Titus HCR, the best handling singletrack bike I've ridden. Lovely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltazar
    i can try to get closeup fictures on the welds tomorrow.

    Tilon, in what country are they made?
    here ya go Baltazar

    http://www.xacd.com.cn/

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bad Wolf
    Do you have a close up pic from those welds?
    From what I see on the site, it looks like their frames are made by Tilon.
    And those welds are far from IF , Kish or Moots quality. But I can only judge from the few lo-res pics on the site, so surprise me with hi-res stuff from SnakeBike frames.

    Tilon is a chines bicycles maker? Snakebike is made in russia, as many good bicycles. they have worked with many big company!

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    Quote Originally Posted by CabRider
    here ya go Baltazar

    http://www.xacd.com.cn/
    it´s absolutly not them that makes snakebike.

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    I like sevens and maybe if money is no object someday I'll get one. But the fact of life for me is that I could buy 4 or 5 perfectly nice ti hardtail frames off ebay for what one new seven costs.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucifer
    I could buy 4 or 5 perfectly nice ti hardtail frames off ebay for what one new seven costs.
    And not one of them would be custom!
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  33. #33
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    ti. is cool, but steel is fine

    Titianium hardtails are super cool, of course!. But for a price of one USA made ti. frame ($1100 to $2500), one can get a complete crmo butted steel bike with XT gruppo, disk brakes, if desired. The butted crmo steel frame ($450 to 1500) will be maybe 1# more and could be stiffer (depends on design and craftmanship, of course).

    a value alternative is the Haberano ti. frames, (Chinese titanium) about $700 for frame.
    Airborne also sells Chinese titanium frame. I have no doubt these Chinese titanium frames well perform well, if the builder do their job right.

    if weight is an issue than Viner sells Deda' EOM steel frame that weights in in the low 3#s, about the same as most titanium frames.

    unless you're a HARDCORE Expert/Pro XC race junkie ( a climbing freak, by defination), get a 100mm front fork..so much more fun than a 80mm. Think about it a 80mm has about 30mm sag...so there's 50mm for real suspension travel...a 100mm fork then would have about 70mm or 20mm more, thans a whopping 40% (20/50) more useable travel...but forget the math: a good 100mm fork will makes you happier than a 80mm on descends, where all the fun action is.

    sure, premium ti. is "money"-- yet steel is cash....and cash is king.
    “Everyday is a good day,” from the Blue Cliff Records, Yun-men (864-949 AD).

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike T.
    And not one of them would be custom!
    Yeah but I am lucky enough to be the 6' 145lb guy that most 19" frames are designed for. So that really isn't an issue for me.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by lucifer
    Yeah but I am lucky enough to be the 6' 145lb guy that most 19" frames are designed for. So that really isn't an issue for me.
    I really beg to differ. Most 6' tall people weight far more than 145lbs and therefore a frame sized right for you (19" you say) would be made from tubing gauges and diameters for much heavier people. Therefore they would be too stiff (and heavy) for you.

    I'm 5'9" and 185lbs and my 7 is designed for my height (a 16" frame) and the tubing gauges, diameters and butting was designed to give me a "mellow" ride (that's what I asked for and that's what I got).
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  36. #36
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    wheck out www.aerolite.ca they are a custom ti frame manufature based out of toronto ontario. i have seen their frames in person and all of the welds look nice and uniform. as well as all the small detail things such as cable stops line up nicely. they are also a good canadian supplier for ti bolts, chainring bolts etc.
    and the best part is that a custom ti frame is $900 canadian.
    do it, do it DO IT!!
    DOOOO IIIIIT!!

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut
    Airborne also sells Chinese titanium frame.
    I've always wondered why more people don't ride Airborne's. They make a gorgeous frame and they inspect everything b/4 it goes out the door. That being said, I'm sure their Ti frames are 'up to the challenge' so to speak.

    I just ordered a Liberator from them. The aluminum model which is dirt cheap right now. If I like the geometry and feel of the bike, I'm sure I'll go for a Ti frame in the very near future.
    Why would I need more than one gear?
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    Slightly Off Topic, but...

    Anyone out there with experience on the Dean Ace X-Lite?

    http://www.deanusa.com/ace%20x-lite/acexlite.htm

    Claimed weight is 4.5 pounds with shock for a small (perfect for me).

    Can anyone out there can provide some insight?

    Thanks very much.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by 514Climber
    Anyone out there with experience on the Dean Ace X-Lite?

    http://www.deanusa.com/ace%20x-lite/acexlite.htm

    Claimed weight is 4.5 pounds with shock for a small (perfect for me).

    Can anyone out there can provide some insight?

    Thanks very much.

    I was thinking of this frame and posted something in the Custom Builders forum. A few people replied.

    Dean Ace...
    Why would I need more than one gear?
    @A_SingleSpeeder
    EPA = crooks!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltazar
    it?s absolutly not them that makes snakebike.
    Get us the close-ups and we will see You would be surprised how many Ti frames are made in China. Airborne Ti comes from this factory..
    Also Titanium Sports in the US makes a lot of no-name frames others put their name on.

    It is not easy to make your own Ti frames, it takes some skilled welders so a lot of people have their frames made somewhere else... I believe Magmaa (also based in Sweden) makes their own.

    And the build quality of Chinese/Taiwanese frames is very good for the price .
    Titanium or Bust !

  41. #41
    nightriding is fun !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baltazar
    Tilon is a chines bicycles maker? Snakebike is made in russia, as many good bicycles. they have worked with many big company!

    Makes sense, since the Russians have a lot of Titanium from their war-industry at hand. Not so easy to contact the Russians though to have a frame made, the Chines have been making bicycle frames a lot longer (also GT Xizang comes from China).
    I believe Van Tuyl and On One have their frames made in Russia. Morati is Czech and they also use Russian titanium but make their frames themselves.
    Titanium or Bust !

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    Duke Xlite

    Thanks for the info on the Ace Lite - very helpful.

    I wonder how the Dean X-Lite is...1 and 1/8" travle

    Could it be that perfect compromise between a hardtail and a fs?

    Does that thing bob at all?

    http://www.deanusa.com/duke%20x-lite/dukeXlite.htm

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    Not custom, but does anybody know anything about Van Tuyl ti frames? I saw one post opining that they are made in Russia. That's better than I knew-- all I've been able to find is that they're dutch
    WARNING: bike shop employee

  44. #44
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    For the price I have paid, and not just for the price, I am quite happy with my current Motobecane Fly Team Ti that I have got from bikesdirect.com. Nicely made frame, shaped tubes and everything, good welding and good geometry. I commute on it during winter. It ain't no custom, but I found that with a compact frame it is quite easy to fine tune it with seatpost and stem. The fact that for the build kit on the bike you get it essentially for free was an added bonus. It runs 100mm 09' SID, and I would not want anything shorter nowadays.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by ~ScaryFast~
    Here's a question for you other Ti riders out there - does your bike have a replaceable derailler hanger?
    My Kent Eriksen has a replaceable hanger. This turned out to be a good thing when I bent it a few months ago:



    In response to the OP, most of the frames mentioned look pretty nice to me. But as with most other owners, I like mine. One nice aspect of choosing the Eriksen was going to Kent's shop, meeting him and checking out the cool frame building tools.

    Dave

  46. #46
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    I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned Black Sheep. They did win best Ti bike at the North American Handmade Bicycle show this year... The make a super hot hardtail, with butted tubing and oversized chainstays. They can even do BB30 shells so you can run super light and stiff cranks. Also, they have a new duallie that uses a Ti flex chainstay as a negative spring and incorporates a Fox RP23 directly into the frame and looks (and functions) a lot like a Ti version of the new Scalpel, frame weight with shock around 4.4lbs depending on tube set.
    A hardtail is forever

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtailforever
    I'm a little surprised nobody has mentioned Black Sheep. They did win best Ti bike at the North American Handmade Bicycle show this year...
    This thread is from 2004.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by KevboDog
    Not custom, but does anybody know anything about Van Tuyl ti frames? I saw one post opining that they are made in Russia. That's better than I knew-- all I've been able to find is that they're dutch
    Yes, Van Tuyl had a factory in Russia, I think in Nizhy Novgorod. They made good quality frames .
    But they have ceased trading afaik .
    Titanium or Bust !

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by 251
    My Kent Eriksen has a replaceable hanger. This turned out to be a good thing when I bent it a few months ago:

    Wow, that dropout looks awesome! How do you like your KE? I just ordered one too. Does you bike have straight gauge tubing?

  50. #50
    251
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kayba
    Wow, that dropout looks awesome! How do you like your KE? I just ordered one too. Does you bike have straight gauge tubing?
    The tubes are all straight gauge. I spoke with Kent abut this and his opinion was that butted Ti has more disadvantages than advantages. I'd like to ride a butted Ti hardtail and compare the two, but the opportunity hasn't yet come up.

    I've been very happy with the Eriksen. Everything from the design process to getting replacement dropouts has been great. I've been most impressed with the attention to detail on the frame:







    Dave

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